Maia Expeditions Manaus Reviews
Incredibly friendly, knowledgeable staff, amazing location Jan 17, 2010
Maia Expeditions provides numerous trekking and adventure activities in the Amazon rain forest. We found out about the company online, and Lisa and I booked 3 nights at the Jungle Lodge.
Most tours leave Manaus in the morning, but you will probably end up arriving in Manaus the night before. Maia Expeditions arranges for free transfer to/from the airport to your hotel. Our flight from Rio was delayed and didn't arrive at Manaus until nearly midnight, but Daniel from Maia Expeditions was waiting for us and took us to the hotel, while giving us a brief tour of Manaus along the way.
The next morning, at 8AM, Mo (the tour guide) met us at the hotel and took us on a car ride to a port at Manaus, then a ferry ride across the river. Along the way, we stopped to look at the "Meeting of the Waters", a place where a white river (Solimoes River) and a black river (Rio Negro) meet. There is literally a curvy line in the water separating the two colors of the rivers, and the effect is quite striking.
Another car ride across some dirt roads and boat ride later, and we arrived at the Dolphin Lodge -- a wooden, eco-friendly structure (there are bins for recycling, the first I saw in Brazil), perched atop a hill at the fork of the river. The views from the lodge are absolutely incredible -- all you see is the wide expanse of the river and trees on each side, no signs of civilization.
After relaxing for a bit in the common area of the lodge, we went on a canoe trip with Mo down one of the smaller forks of the river. The experience of silently gliding through the water, hearing only the sounds of the forest around you, and seeing all the insects and wildlife, was simply incredible. We saw lots of birds, insects, fish, and pink, freshwater dolphins.
As might be expected when you are that far out in the jungle, the accommodations are very basic. Simple, small, dank rooms with mosquito netting over the beds. There are also a variety of friendly bug visitors, especially moths (including one large one that was as large as a bird - no exaggeration) that are attracted to the light at night. Even on the boat ride, there were a variety of bugs jumping in and out of the canoe as we were floating along.
I didn't mind the bugs so much, but Lisa has a fear of bugs, and there were armies of fairly exotic looking species here. She had a very difficult time sleeping the first night we were there because of the bugs, so we decided to cut our visit short and spend the last few days of our trip in Sao Paulo.
When we told Mo that we wanted to leave early, they were very understanding and made arrangements for us to leave on a boat ride the next morning. Daniel met us at the the dock in Manaus and wanted to help make the rest of our experience as good as possible. When we told him that we wanted to try to see if we could change our flight from Manaus to Sao Paulo, and fly in a few days early, he drove us to the airport and waited with us for over 1.5 hours in line at the ticket counter. He helped us get on the next flight out of Manaus, which we probably wouldn't have made without him. Even if we had missed the flight, he offered to take us around and show us around Manaus and the neighboring beaches. It was clear he was sorry we were leaving early, and he wanted to do everything possible to make our memory of Manaus a good one.
Even though our stay in the Amazon was only a night, I can highly recommend Maia Expeditions. The staff is incredibly friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. Mo grew up right next to where the Dolphin Lodge currently stands, and Daniel just a bit further down the river. The rates are reasonably priced. The foods is good. The location is perfect. The accommodations are very basic, but the location and isolation are excellent. And the staff did everything they could to make our stay enjoyable. The reason we left - crazy Amazonian bugs - was completely unrelated to the service of Maia Expeditions.
I will never forget the experience of swimming in the river, and floating on my back with nothing but sky above and the river and jungle around me. The only thing I would caution is, if you are squeamish around bugs, be careful about booking ANY trip to the Amazon ;)
*** Note: Maia Expeditions only accepts cash as payment, so please be sure to bring enough cash!
Part of the Brazil 2010 travel blog
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Romantic little jungle lodge Oct 20, 2010
In October 2010 I spent 5 days at the Dolphin Lodge of Maia Expeditions.
The lodge is located in a very beautiful place far away from other tourists.
It has 8 bedrooms and the atmosphere is familiar and cosy.
All staff members are locals. All are very friendly and helpful. The guides are bilingual and most of them were born and raised in this area, so the jungle is their back yard.
The accommodation is simple, without luxury, but clean and nice. Ideal for back packers and other people that want to hear and feel the jungle.
Electricity only when the generator runs, usually between 6pm and midnight. No cell phone coverage, I enjoyed the peace without ringing cell phones!
The houses are built of hard wood with traditional palm leave roofs.
The 8 rooms have two or three beds equipped with mosquito nets.
Each room has a little bath room with cold shower. The water is from the river, you better not drink it when you are not used to it.
If you are really scared of bugs, you better not go to the jungle.
I absolutely fell in love with the place, so I made peace with the bugs, the frogs in the bathrom and the tarantula that lives in the roof of room 7.
I named it Hugo. If any of you stay at the Dolphin lodge at room 7, say hi to Hugo. Don´t be afraid. Hugo is nice and doesn´t bother you when you leave him alone on the ceiling.
It´s good to have the guide around for asking him, if you are not sure if something is dangerous or not.
I felt really safe and comfortable with the guides. They know the jungle.
The food was like the rooms, simple but good and healthy. Lot of fresh fish and tropic fruits.
From all places I´ve seen so far, the Marmori river and lake is the most beautiful one. I will be back there hopefully soon.
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